Friends of Stewart Park is an organization committed to ensuring that Ithaca’s lakefront park and trail is a beautiful and welcoming destination for everyone to enjoy.

Building A Playground for All

Phase I is open!

In mid-September, The Friends of Stewart Park, a local nonprofit committed to revitalizing Stewart Park, held a Community Build of the area’s first Accessible Playground. Over six days, twelve hours a day, and in three shifts a day, over 900 volunteers and 45 organizations worked alongside playground design firm Play by Design to create the pre-school sections of a new playground for children of all abilities. This beautifully-designed inclusive playground will dramatically enhance Stewart Park as a regional destination for families, individuals, children of all ages, and visitors. Learn More.

Phase II coming Spring/Summer 2019

Phase II of the playground build will feature a large, school-age structure, a long, gently-sloped berm that connects to the play structure at different elevations, culminating at the Cayuga Lake Overlook, a new Splash Pad, new winterized and accessible bathrooms in their own attractive building adjacent to the Splash Pad and a protective cover for the Carousel. Learn More.

Design and Accessibility


to the playground Campaign

Pavilion Rental

Stewart Park has 2 beautiful lakeside pavilions for rent. Rental arrangements for the pavilions are made through the Ithaca Youth Bureau. Send rental forms to Ithaca Youth Bureau, 1 James L. Gibbs Drive, Ithaca NY 14850 or email them to Call 607-273-8364 for more information.


Picnic “Large” Pavilion

The large pavilion is in the heart of the historic core of Stewart Park. There are 20 picnic tables inside the pavilion and several around the outside, seating about 6-8 people each. Picnic Pavilion rental also comes with 2 long serving tables. A number of picnic grills surround the pavilion and there’s a large barbecue pit (bring your own grates) for your cooking needs. There is a ramp on the northeast side of pavilion and bathrooms located right inside.

Stewart Park Large Pavilion Reservation Form

Stewart Park Large Pavilion Floor Plan


Small “Tea” Pavilion

The Tea Pavilion is in the heart of Stewart Park located west of the historic core, on the lake side of the playground area. There are 9 picnic tables inside the pavilion and several around the outside of the pavilion which seat about 6-8 people each. There are also a number of picnic grills surrounding the pavilion for your cooking needs. Bathrooms are accessible at the Wharton building.

Stewart Park Small Pavilion Reservation Form

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Grant Received for Cascadilla Boathouse Restoration

Friends of Stewart Park is delighted that Historic Ithaca was awarded a $367,000 grant to restore the exterior of the Cascadilla Boathouse, with the funds going to the City of Ithaca to Complete the Project. 

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation/Historic Preservation Development program announced the funds in December as part of the state's Regional Economic Development Initiative.

FSP worked with Historic Ithaca to submit grant application to restore Cascadilla Boathouse, a local landmark that has been in use since 1896 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“This is an important step forward for restoring the boathouse and for our broader park revitalization effort,” said Rick Manning, executive director of the Friends of Stewart Park. 

The Ithaca Journal quotes Tim Logue, City Engineer, in saying,

“With this grant and the partnership with Historic Ithaca, our community will be able to nearly quadruple what the city was able to do alone. Also, the partnership with Historic Ithaca will relieve the burden on city staff for grant administration and ensure that the work is done with best practices in historic preservation. The building is a true treasure on the waterfront, and this investment is truly needed for the next generation.”

Rendering of Wharton Studio Building Visitor Center August 2017.jpg

Wharton Studio Museum and Park Visitor Center project gets grant

October 18,2018 was an exciting day for Wharton Studio Museum and Friends of Stewart Park as New York State Senator Tom O'Mara presented WSM Executive Director and Co-Founder Diana Riesman (Riesman is also chair of FSP), and Rick Manning, FSP Executive Director, with a big ‘check’ valued at $450,000 in support of developing the Wharton Studio Museum and Park Visitor Center along the lakefront and Waterfront Trail in Stewart Park! This grant from NYS will help convert the lake-facing side of the historic studio building into a Museum and Visitor Center, encompassing a gallery for exhibits on Ithaca's movie history, as well as park cultural and natural history. In addition an outdoor terrace will be developed with lake views and the existing public bathrooms will be renovated and winterized. The Wharton Studio Museum and Park Visitor Center is a cornerstone project in the revitalization of the park's Historic Core.




1001 West Seneca St, Suite 101
Ithaca, NY 14850 

Monday - Friday: 9am to 5pm



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